The Continued Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Pediatric Obesity: A Commentary on the Return to a Healthy New "Normal"

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 5;19(9):5597. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19095597.

Abstract

Two years into this pandemic, mental health symptoms are more prevalent in children and adolescents, routine wellness visits have decreased, individuals and families are experiencing increased stress, and food and nutrition insecurity are on the rise. Pediatric overweight and obesity are yet another health condition that has been impacted by the pandemic. The current commentary aims to (a) summarize a variety of factors contributing to worsening obesity and healthy lifestyle choices in youth throughout the pandemic and to (b) provide recommendations for healthcare providers on navigating this challenge. Specific health behaviors, such as increased sedentary behavior, decreased physical activity, a change to families' home-food environments, and an increase in sleep dysregulation have contributed to increased weight gain in children and adolescents. As uncertainty continues with the advent of various COVID-19 variants, it remains important to consider how the pandemic has impacted pediatric overweight and obesity.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; obesity guidelines; pediatric obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Pandemics
  • Pediatric Obesity* / epidemiology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Weight Gain

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants

Grant support

This research received no external funding.